Virgin Atlantic Airways today welcomed the publication of the Government’s consultation on additional runway capacity in the South-East of England.
Virgin Atlantic Chairman Sir Richard Branson said:
“Alistair Darling has shown real courage in making this announcement. I am delighted at the vision shown by this Government today in announcing a set of options for the expansion of runway capacity in the South East of England. This issue has been ducked and dodged by successive previous Governments, with the result that the travelling public in the South East of England are faced with the most heavily-congested airports in Europe, and the nation is in serious risk of losing its pre-eminent status in air transport to its Continental European counterparts.
“Aviation already contributes well over £10 billion per annum to Gross Domestic Product, and sustains over half a million jobs in the UK. Investment in additional runway capacity which allows airlines to meet the expected huge growth in air travel over the next two decades will ensure that aviation continues to facilitate and encourage economic growth and increase wealth.”
Commenting on the location of any new runways, Sir Richard Branson said:
“Virgin Atlantic will be commenting further on the various options after reading the consultation paper in detail. However, given that our passengers constantly tell us that they prefer to travel from Heathrow, we favour those options that allow for a significant increase in runway capacity at Heathrow.
“Aviation has made enormous efforts to mitigate its environmental impact and I’m delighted to have launched the new A340-600 this week which is significantly quieter and more fuel efficient than older generation aircraft. The way forward is for older, noisier aircraft to be banned over time from our airports and for airlines to be urged to fly younger, quieter, more fuel efficient aircraft. I am convinced that further expansion at Heathrow will have a minimal impact on the environment.”
For further information please contact the Virgin Atlantic Press Office on 01293 747 373.